Beauty Librarian Contest
One of our big tourist attractions in this neck of the woods is the Mohegan Sun Casino, which naturally makes me think of librarians. They all go together: gambling, second-hand smoke, glamour, live bands, and librarians. Small-talking in line for the bar, I discovered I’m not the only one to find this combination delightfully absurd.
Last Thursday, the CT Authors Trail had its culminating event in the casino’s Cabaret Theater, just past the no-smoking slots, and while the highlight of the evening was listening to author Jane Green tell us about how she nearly threw up in Harrison Ford’s helicopter (“It wouldn’t be the first time,” he told her), a close runner-up was the moment when a dozen librarians lined up on the stage under the spotlights to pick winners for prize baskets.
Yes, prize baskets, to add a wholesome thrill.
There was something enormously satisfying about seeing librarians highlighted this way, literally. It was like a spoof of a beauty contest, with women picked for their brains, organizational skills, love of books, and gentle manners. One by one, they stepped forward to the mic, introduced themselves and their libraries, drew a ticket out of a bag, read the name aloud (or not if the ticket was blank, in which case, unrattled, they repeated the process), accepted a spatter of applause, and walked down the stage steps to make sure the prize basket made it to the right person.
Kristi Sadowski, co-director of the Booth & Dimock Library in Coventry, CT, had her heart pounding the whole time. I know because she confessed this to me afterward. I don’t blame her; I’d have felt the same way. But she was great. They all were.
If the point of the casino’s partnership with the librarians was to sponsor a community event and cover the costs of printing the Author Trail brochures in exchange for luring a hundred potential gamblers in on a slow Thursday night, I’d say it succeeded. I didn’t lose a nickel, and I had a rare chance to cheer for librarians.